Gyone awakes in an area of pure nothingness, surrounded with pitch black. Upon standing himself up, he can hear laughter of a maniacal and roaring voice in the background; it seems to mock him. Gyone gazed frantically in all directions, trying to put a face to the ominous laugh.
"What the hell?" asked Gyone in a shaken fashion.
To this, the laughter only grew evermore fierce. As much as he wanted to, Gyone could not speak. He wanted to shout -to show this figure who he was dealing with- but all he could do was remain silent; fear overtook his mind. After moments of laughter, Gyone could hear inhales from a nose, as if smelling him. The voice spoke after one last, deep inhale.
"Ahh. An Irensho is it? No doubt," said the voice, sounding very pleased to this conclusion.
Still nothing came from Gyone, despite all attempts. He stood still and clenched his fists tight. Finally words escaped.
"W-what? Who are you?"
"No rush. No fun. Wait," replied the voice, noticeably holding back laughter. "Yes, you shall. You must."
His composure broke, unleashing the same damned laughter as before. Gyone walked forward for only mere steps till his footing gave way. The same floor to the eye proved to be false as Gyone descended into freefall. He screamed on his way down. Looking around, the sheer blackness dissipated slowly, revealing a background of pure beauty. The land seen was vivid; giant mountains with waterfalls raining down and lush grass covering the entire plain as far as the eye can see. This sight was an absolute mystery to Gyone. Such unfettered beauty was anything but rare. Unfortunately, the sights were halted as he looked down to find his landing. It was the edge of a mountain overlooking the land. He hit the ground with a thud, but immediately realized the strange lack of any pain of injury.
Gyone stood himself up, utterly confused by the happenings. He wiped the dirt from his white t-shirt and black sweat pants, obviously attire for sleep. His stare met with a red temple near his landing point. He walked up the concrete stairway to the entrance, at an easy pace so he could admire his surroundings. The double doors creek open as Gyone pushes them aside, revealing the small area in the shimmering light of the sun. In the center laid an alter with four displays meant to hold weapons. The three from the left were empty, but the fourth housed a familiar sight. The scythe of his father's possession. It bore a sleek, black handle and a blade of pristine and polished silver. Underneath it was a smaller blade, presumably to increase tearing power of the strike. With slight hesitation, Gyone walked toward the blade.
He began to hear muffled whispers, words incomprehensible and sound growing slowly louder. With each step, it increased. Finally, a word could be understood.
"Gyone," a woman's voice seemed to serenade.
Over and over again, never ceasing and only growing clearer. It stopped being a whisper and turned to a normal pitch, as if questioning. Once more, the voice yelled.
"Get up, you lazy oaf!"
Mia struck Gyone on the cheek with a powerful smack. His eyes sprang open in shock, followed by a deep inhale. He looked to find Mia perched on top of him, knees parted and sitting on his chest. She gave him a stern, yet amused glare.
"I swear, you're like the deepest sleeper," said Mia.
"Ow," replied Gyone, rubbing his cheek. "Did you really have to slap me, babe?"
Mia chuckled as she responded.
"Five minutes later, it seemed like the best thing to do."
Gyone only shook his head. Mia kissed his forehead and dismounted him.
"By the way, we have company," said Mia as she opened the door to the other room.
"Company?" asked Gyone. "Who?"
A voice could be heard beckoning from the dining room.
"You best get your ass in here pretty fast, kid!" exclaimed the voice. "Don't keep your old man waiting!"
Gyone seemed shocked and pleasantly surprised as he sprang up from the bed. He raced to the door and hastily opened it. They both saw each other and definitely seemed like a joyous reunion.
"Dad?!" exclaimed Gyone.
The man saw him and immediately stood up. He had the same color of hair as Gyone, but it was worn in a swept-back fashion. His eyes were the same as well; a similar shade of hazel. His face was worn with age.
"About time, son!" replied Gyone's dad. "I thought you were never gonna wake up."
"Funny, 'cause I thought you were never gonna show up," shrugged Gyone.
"Ahh, I'm sorry," said dad. "A boat's not easy to come by these days in Bogmire. I've been wanting to visit for a while now!"
Gyone's smile fades just a bit as he responds.
"I'm sure you've got more business here. Come on now."
"Sure enough, I do," replied dad.
"Figures," said Gyone, rolling his eyes.
"Now son," continued dad, rubbing the back of his neck. "It isn't business for me; in fact, it's for you!"
Gyone looked to the counter of their kitchen. He saw a long, narrow dull-green travel bag.
"I'm listening," replied Gyone.
Dad walked to the same bag, grabbed it firm, and walked back to Gyone; bag held horizontal in both hands.
"I believe it's time for me to pass this on," said dad with a sense of pride in his voice.
Gyone took the bag and undid the zipper. His dad seemed to stare with abundant anticipation. Finally, he grasped on to the inside and caught onto a polelike item. With one lift, it was clear that this was the same scythe Gyone had seen in his dream. Gyone brandished the weapon, slowly obtaining a feel for its weight.
"You remember this right? Always told you you couldn't touch it. Well. Touch it all you like."
"Dad," said Gyone. "Are you sure about this?"
Dad only nodded. He spoke up after a moment.
"You've got the Irensho blood in you son. It's tradition!"
Gyone smiled. He balanced the top of the scythe on his elbow as it held him up from the floor.
"You know," said Gyone. "The next time I would've seen you, I would've punched you square in the face."
"Fair enough," replied dad.
"But.." said Gyone with a smirk. "It's a good thing you brought a present."
Both were standing in silence, staring blankly into space for just a moment before Mia walked in.
"Sullus?" asked Mia, leaning herself against the door frame. "Why are you giving my fiance more ways to kill pesky robbers? Guns seem to work well enough." There was distinct sarcasm in her voice.
Sullus laughed slightly as he took a seat at their table, then replied. "Well darling, I spent the better part of my life building Gyone up to be a fighter. Just after a few weeks, goddamn! I've never seen a boy move like him!"
"Dad, come on. Quit your gushing," said Gyone, letting out a slight laugh.
"What?" said Sullus. "Can't a father have his moments?"
Both Gyone and Sullus laughed more. Gyone spoke up as it died down.
"So how long are you staying?" asked Gyone.
Sullus stood up as he replied.
"Afraid not long, son. Sorry to disappoint you, but I've gotta get back on the road!"
Gyone's face sank a bit to this news. Before any sense of shattered hope, Sullus placed a hand upon his shoulder. "But don't worry, Gyone. I'm coming back in a few weeks. In the meantime, give ol' Gale a try, alright?"
"Sure dad," said Gyone as he placed a hand on his shoulder as well.
+"Ol' Gale won't go to waste."+
Dimm walks through the early traffic of the slummy dirt streets of northern Crygor, listening carefully to the people that surrounded. From a gaze of left and right, it's clear that his cloaked appearance has caught some attention of the local. Regardless, he kept walking without so much as a stare. He spotted a directory at the center of northern wall, reading "Welcome to Crygor!" atop the cheesy sign. Dimm studied the layout carefully.
"Open trade market area seems to be where I'm at now," said Dimm aloud. "Now if I were looking for some info, I'd want- there. Aha!" he said as he looked to the business center, located to the eastern wall.
A striking realization hit him though as he looked to the eastern entrance with guardsmen checking for credentials, as well as failed attempts to pass and fresh bruises and welts.
"Dammit," thought Dimm. "How am I gonna get pass the guards?"
Only a moment passed, then Dimm started to feel a strange, numbing phenomenon in his head; no headache or pain, just oddity. Dimm held his head with a slight discomfort as he spoke.
"Huh? Oh, don't be pulling this crap on me while I'm on assignment!"
Suddenly, he heard a voice beckon to him from the shanty stall lines.
"You. Tall man with the secrets."
Dimm turned to find a small, dark-skinned teenager with ragged clothes, spiked black hair, and a white and red bandanna worn over the beginnings of the hair line. His dull blue eyes had a hint of knowing; like he knew exactly what he needed.
"C'mere!" said the teen as he motioned his hand to come, then subtly pointing to the checkpoint. Dimm wove through the crowd to him as he hid himself away into a forming wave of people. Each new stare brought a throbbing to Dimm's head, almost to a point of unbearable annoyance, but after mere moments, the two met.
"What do you want, little one?" asked Dimm.
The boy smirked with distinct dislike to the term. He pointed to Dimm as he spoke.
"Judging by the name-calling, pretty safe to assume you ain't no regular. Throwin' around slang at strangers -even nice n' cozy Crygor- could get a bullseye like you killed.
"Tough words you're using there," replied Dimm. Don't take me as ignorant. I'm just-"
He was interrupted by the boy.
"Trusting? Too nice ta say no?"
He grasps at a knife handle sticking out from the inside of his pants.
"You coulda just been making it easier for me."
Dimm sighed, then spoke to the boy with an uncanny confidence.
"We both know you're screwing with me, trying to spook me out."
The boy relaxed his grip and let go altogether after a moment. He chuckles as a smirk emerges from his face.
"Good set a eyes you got there. For that-" He throws a small card with a hollowed-out circle in the center; a small holographic light of grey fills the gap. "You win a prize," said the boy, lazily pointing his thumb to the checkpoint.
Guards begin to beat a refugee man, worthless paper currency surrounding him on the ground.
"Well then; thanks ki- huh?" replied Dimm, turning back to find no one.. or so he thought.
A large thud could be heard, followed by slight, null groans of pain. Dimm turned to find the boy in a nearby alley way, clumsily picking himself up from a fall. It doesn't take long to make up for the sloppiness however, as he leaps from wall to wall, window ledge to window ledge, and finally; to the top of the low-class living complexes. Dimm wastes no time and walks to the checkpoint. The weird feeling reappeared in his head as he looked to the two guards standing watch. His attention swayed fully to the left guard without very much reason he could muster. He began to think to himself.
"Hmm. This odd feeling is directing me towards that man, but. By the spirits.. I can sense. So much about him."
Continuing to walk forward, the guards take notice and stand at attention, ready to inspect him.
"Hmm. So this is what Gore was telling me about?" thought Dimm to himself. "So.. mesmerizing and strange.. I can. I can.."
"Sir?" asked the guard as Dimm arrived in front of them. He tried again, this time with a tap of his shoulder. "Sir?!"
Dimm shook out of his trance-like state and hastily grabbed and showed his card, open-palmed in his right hand. "Oh! M-my bad, gentlemen! I sort of dazed out there for a second! Here you are."
He took a scanner to the card, turning the grey glow to a lime green, signifying the clearance to enter.
"Alright sir, enjoy your stay in Crygor," said the guard with stoic professionalism.
"Thanks a lot, Jole- I mean, sir!"
The guards immediately looked to each other in puzzled confusion. As Dimm tried to walk past, Jole stepped in his way, halting him.
"Wait just one goddamn second. Have we met?" asked Jole.
"No sir, I've just heard.. stories about your reputation at the guard; that's all! Really admire that kind of hard work."
Jole, though noticeably suspicious, laughed a bit and responded as he turned to the other guard.
"Haha you see, Dalt. Word's going around about how great I am. Can't wait to rub that one in Gyone's smugass-.
Dimm trances out again, seeing an image of a woman being rushed to labor in a hospital bed. As they spoke, he stopped the argument with haste.
"Your wife! Jole! She's having a baby!"
"Okay, Mr. Psychic. Just what the hell are you trying to pull?" asked Jole with anger in his voice. "Supposing you've seen her around, right? That stomach's a dead giveaway, so don't-" He was interrupted.
"No, I mean right now! Go!"
Jole grew furious, fists brought up and shouting.
"Alright, that's it. You're going down, buddy."
A moment passed, then Jole's radio, hanging from his uniform belt, sounded off.
"Officer Colba, do you read?" asked the voice.
Jole calmed down and answered the radio.
"This is Jole. What is it?"
"Uhm.. How should I put this? Your wife's giving birth at Koro Memorial Hospital."
Jole's expression changed to one of shock as he stared at Dimm's cloaked appearance. He replied to the news with equal happiness and confusion.
"I will be willing to cover your shift, don't worry," replied the woman's voice.
"Ugh. Goddammit, Kathra! Refugee area's too dangerous for you, you know that," retorted Jole.
The line went dead for a second, then Kathra replied.
You could tell Jole was debating this decision very hard on both fronts, but he finally broke.
"Fine, jeez! Be down here in full gear and loaded. Colba out."
Both stared at each other. Dimm nodded, then Jole nodded back as he bursted into a sprint to the west civilian wing.
Dimm strolled through to east wing and continued to scan the area with purpose. The same feeling overtook him as he spoke to himself.
"Uh huh. Reform? What reform dammit? Looking to fill a position in the new council. Keeping the old system maybe? No no. Excited for the democracy to kick in huh? Wait.. now it's a monarchy? Socialst agenda? Gah.."
He brain began to ache as the mass amount of information slipped into his head. He shut his eyes and held onto his head.
"You're pushing too hard, Dimm," thought Dimm to himself. "Okay. Just relax. And the first person you see, we'll put all of your focus on."
He took a deep breath and turned around. A man with long, grey hair and shades; white shirt with a black leather vest, zipped halfway up, and blue jeans -green bag slung over his right shoulder- passed behind him to his right. Gyone pulled his shades down and met his glare with an attentive one of his own. He stopped in his tracks as Dimm looked at him from head-to-toe.
+"What's this about a pawn shop?"+